Umaru Dikko dies at 78
Former Minister of Transportation, Umaru Dikko
Former Minister of Transportation in the Second Republic, Umaru Dikko, has died at 78.
Dikko, 78, who was one of the prominent member of the federal cabinet under the presidency of Alhaji Shehu Shagri (1979 – 1983) died early Tuesday in a London hospital, his son Dr. Bello Dikko confirmed on Tuesday.
According to sources, Dikko has been sick for “quite some time” and suffered three strokes in a row.
Dikko (born 1936, Wamba) was a close confidant to President Shehu Shagari . He was also the Nigerian minister for Transportation from 1979-1983. He was known to be non-chalant about complaints by the people about the maladministration of the government he was serving under. He as fending off such complaints and was quoted as saying one time that Nigerians were yet to eat out of the dustbin.
He predicted that the then ruling National party of Nigeria (NPN) was going to have 'moonslide' victory in the 1983 elections, which came to pass as the party coasted home to victory in the election which ranks as one of the most shamelessly rigged in the history of Nigeria.
Dikko started playing a role in the nation's governance in 1967, when he was appointed as a commissioner in the then North Central State of Nigeria (now Kaduna State ). He was also secretary of a committee set up by General Hassan Katsina to unite the Northerners after a coup in 1966.  In 1979, he was made Shagari's campaign manager for the successful presidential campaign of the National Party of Nigeria . During the nation's Second Republic , he played prominent roles as transport minister and head of the presidential task force on rice.
A military coup on December 31, 1983 overthrew the government of Shagari. Dikko fled into exile in London as well as a few other ministers and party officials of the National Party of Nigeria . The new military regime accused him of large-scale corruption while in office, in particular of embezzling millions of dollars from the nation's oil revenues.
On July 5, 1984, he was found drugged in a crate at Stansted Airport that was being claimed as Diplomatic Baggage , an apparent victim of a government sanctioned kidnapping . The crate's destination was Lagos .